What is CBD? Everything You Need to Know

What is CBD

You find CBD products everywhere – from organic health stores to gas stations. Companies are currently adding CBD to different products they manufacture. CBD topicals, oils, edibles, pet products, and even skincare products are rampant on today’s market.

But what is CBD anyway? This compound has become increasingly popular and is also considered a buzzword in different niches.

If you’re looking to add CBD to your regimen but still have doubts, this guide will help you. We have answered most of the common questions people usually ask about CBD. By the end of this guide, you should know how CBD works, its benefits, potential side effects, and many more.

What is CBD?

We must answer what is CBD first before we dive deeper into other questions. When you come across CBD products, you may wonder: what does CBD stand for?

CBD is the short term for cannabidiol, an active compound present in cannabis. Does CBD get you high?
Unlike its cousin compound, THC, CBD doesn’t make you feel high. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the intoxicating compound in cannabis.

Since CBD comes from a plant, it’s only a natural substance. This is a big part of why this compound is appealing. We have different CBD products, from CBD pills and capsules to CBD vape juices.

Where Does it Come from?

Most CBD products are hemp-derived. The hemp plant is a variety of cannabis that contains trace amounts of THC. THC is only about 0.3 percent in hemp.

Marijuana is another variety of cannabis. It has high amounts of THC, about 15 to 25 percent. Due to its THC content, marijuana remains illegal federally.

Products that contain CBD, such as tinctures, gummies, and vapes, all require an extraction process. This process involves the removal of CBD and any other desired cannabinoid from the hemp plant.

Suppliers use different extraction methods for drawing out compounds from the hemp plant. But, the industry-leading and most effective method is CO2 extraction.

How CBD Works in the Body

Tons of research studies reveal that CBD significantly affects our health and wellbeing. But, how does it produce this impact?

Scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system, ECS, in the 1990s. ECS plays a vital role in regulating different physiological processes in the body.

It’s this system that CBD interacts with to bring about its many benefits. ECS consists of receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. These receptors are present throughout the body: in the brain, skin, spinal cord, and various organs. Cannabinoid receptors cannot regulate any bodily processes without cannabinoids.

Phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC interact with these receptors to bring balance to the body. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids the body produces naturally by itself. These compounds, whether by the body or plants, help the body function more efficiently.

Full-spectrum vs. Broad-spectrum vs. CBD isolate

You’ve probably come across full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate while browsing CBD products. Up until now, we’ve only discussed CBD. But, the hemp plant contains more than CBD. It also has other cannabinoids and plant compounds, each delivering specific benefits to the body.

For instance, the hemp plant contains terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins. Terpenes are plant compounds that give cannabis its aroma. Studies also reveal that they offer therapeutic benefits as well.

There are three types of hemp extracts that you can find in any CBD product. These are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Each of these has different chemical composition.

CBD Isolate: This extract is also called pure CBD since it contains only CBD. So, there are no other compounds from hemp that are present here.
Pure isolate products are perfect for people who discovered CBD works for their condition. Thus, they need a high CBD concentration with no other cannabinoid present.

Broad-spectrum: This CBD contains all the compounds in the hemp plant but without THC. So, it has other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and hemp nutrients.

Full-spectrum: A type of extract containing all the compounds in the hemp plant. Thus, it also has trace amounts of THC. The THC in hemp plants is low, so you don’t have to bother about getting high.

Meanwhile, experts believe full-spectrum CBD products produce an entourage effect. The theory of the entourage effect describes a synergy between hemp compounds. It suggests that it’s more beneficial to take these compounds at once rather than singly.

Note that none of these CBD extracts is better than the other. Each delivers its effects on the body. Experts believe full-spectrum CBD is the best option due to the entourage effect. However, any type you choose is capable of producing results.

Benefits of CBD

CBD advocates tout this compound as a viable treatment for different ailments. There are studies to support some of these claims. However, the strongest evidence for the use of CBD is in treating two rare forms of epilepsy, which are:
Dravet syndrome
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

These conditions do not respond to anti-seizure treatments. But, multiple studies show that CBD reduced seizures in patients with these syndromes. Also, in some cases, it stopped the condition altogether.

As a result, the FDA approved Epidiolex for treating these conditions. Epidiolex is a cannabis-derived medication.


Many people use CBD for pain. Different studies suggest CBD could help with pain conditions, including chronic pain and inflammation.
One of the studies published in the European Journal of pain revealed that CBD could help with pain and inflammation resulting from arthritis. Also, other research studies show CBD is a potential treatment for neuropathic pain.


Anxiety relief is one of the top reasons people use CBD. How does CBD help with anxiety? According to a 2015 review, CBD interacts with serotonin receptors and other receptors that regulate mood. Also, the authors found evidence suggesting that CBD could be an effective treatment for the following anxiety disorders:
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
• Panic disorder (PA)
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
We have other studies exploring the effects of CBD on different types of anxiety. However, variation exists in terms of effective CBD dosages. There is a need for more large-scale studies to help establish a dosing guideline. This guideline will help people looking to use CBD for anxiety.


People also use CBD for sleep. Some early studies indicate that high dosages of CBD may help those with sleep problems. For instance, this 2014 study suggests that higher doses promote sleep. However, low doses may increase wakefulness.

Research from another 2014 study showed that CBD improves REM sleep behavior disorders. Furthermore, some underlying causes of insomnia include pain and anxiety. Evidence from research works suggests that CBD could help manage these conditions, in turn, promote sleep.

Other CBD Benefits

There are other potential benefits of CBD not listed above. For example, an article by Harvard Health reports that CBD could help with addiction. Some human research suggests that CBD lowers cravings for tobacco and heroin. Also, animal studies show that it may lessen cravings for stimulants, alcohol, cannabis, and others.

Here are some areas where the use of CBD could be beneficial:

• Alleviating certain side effects resulting from cancer treatment
• Helps with mood disorders
• Neuroprotective properties for those with neurological conditions
• It May benefit heart health
• Helps improve blood pressure
• Reduce symptoms of psychosis
• Treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis

Research into the use of CBD in some of these health issues is still ongoing. There’s so much we don’t know about this cannabinoid. But, with high-quality studies on the way, researchers will discover the full potential of CBD.

How Do You Use CBD?

CBD is available in different forms, including CBD vape, tinctures, CBD bath bombs, edibles, CBD capsules, topicals, patches, CBD tea, and oral sprays.


CBD vape pens may not be the healthiest way to use CBD, but they are popular. Vaping provides a fast, convenient, and easy way of taking CBD. This method is fast-acting and delivers an almost immediate effect.

Any CBD product you take via inhalation provides stronger and quicker results. Also, vape products are available pre-filled with CBD and pre-charged. Thus, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. They are easy to use and portable.


When using CBD tinctures, you take them sublingually. Place the CBD oil drops under your tongue, hold them for some time, and swallow. CBD tinctures come available in different strengths, flavors, and sizes.

A CBD tincture contains hemp extract and carrier oil. Some commonly used carrier oils are:
MCT oil
Hempseed oil
Olive oil
When you use tinctures, you notice the effects within 15 to 45 minutes. These will last for about three to four hours.


CBD edibles, such as CBD gummies give the user an enjoyable and tasty treat while they get their daily dose of CBD. Gummies usually come in a variety of flavors, shapes, and colors. So it’s easy to find something you can add to your routine.

Gummies may take some time before you notice any effects. So, always be patient. But when they kick in, you feel these effects for many hours.


CBD topicals work directly on the affected part of your body. So, instead of taking it internally, you apply it to the area you need relief.
Cannabinoid receptors are present in the skin, muscles, and joints. When you apply CBD, the cannabinoids bind with these receptors via transdermal absorption.

Apart from providing relief, CBD topicals also help moisturize your skin. Some topical products are CBD creams, salves, and CBD lotions. Topicals tend to take effect within minutes of application. They can last for as long as six hours.

How Much CBD to Take

One question people beginning their CBD journey often ask is how much to take. This aspect is essential since how much CBD you consume determines whether you get results or not. To reach your wellness goals, you need to take the ideal dose.

Many people who wrote their CBD products off probably were not using the right amount to feel the effects. When it comes to how much CBD to take, you need to consider the strength of the product and consumption method.

Each of these methods has its own onset time and duration the effects last. Therefore, the concentration you need when vaping will differ from the strength you take orally.

So, how much should you take? First, factors such as body weight and the severity of your conditions influence the amount you need. For instance, the more you weigh or severe your condition, the higher CBD strength you need.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for your starting dose. Use the recommended dose for two weeks and monitor how your body responds to it. After two weeks, you can then adjust the amount you’re taking.

The starting dose is different depending on your ingestion method. Below are ideal milligrams of CBD per dose:

CBD Vape: An ideal dose for beginners is usually between one to three puffs

CBD tinctures: Average CBD tinctures come in a 1000mg CBD bottle. These usually deliver around 33mg CBD per serving.

Gummies: Depending on your wellness needs, between 5 and 25 mg is a good starting point.

Topicals: This type of product doesn’t have recommended strengths. You should focus on covering the affected area with an even amount of the formula.

Potential Harms and Side effects

CBD is generally well-tolerated. However, there are potential CBD side effects you should be aware of, such as:

• Dry mouth
• Diarrhea
• Fatigue
• Changes in appetite
• Changes in weight
• Drowsiness

More importantly, studies show that CBD can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners. If you plan to use CBD products, speak with your doctor. This is particularly important if you’re taking medications.

Another area of concern would be the reliability of the products you purchase. A recent survey showed that some products on the market have less CBD than advertised on the label. Also, some products had more THC than what’s on the label.

Is CBD legal?

Another common CBD question is: is CBD legal in all states?

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is legal on the federal level in the United States. This bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and placed it under agricultural commodities. Therefore, anyone can sell, buy, and use hemp-derived CBD products.

Although CBD is legal federally, each state has its CBD laws. So, it’s best to read your state’s hemp regulations before committing to any CBD product.

What’s more, if the CBD is from marijuana, the feds say it’s illegal. The government classifies anything from the plant as a Schedule I substance. Still, this legality may vary from state to state.

Some states legalized the medical use of marijuana. So, you need a doctor’s prescription to access them.

Ultimately, the rules for marijuana and hemp differ. Most CBD products sold online and offline are hemp-derived. They are legal federally. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to buy only those. Not just that, but you should always check your state laws to see if there are any restrictions.

Can You Travel with CBD?

The legality of hemp means you can travel across states with CBD. However, you must ensure the CBD is legal and contains no more than the required level of THC.

Also, remember there are TSA guidelines for travelers. So, while traveling with CBD tinctures, you want to pay attention to the limit placed on liquids.

Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

So, does CBD show up on a drug test? CBD doesn’t show up on drug tests because these tests don’t target CBD. Cannabidiol is not an intoxicating substance. So you don’t have to worry if you use pure CBD oil products.

However, note that some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC. It’s possible to get a positive drug test result with such products.

Can I give CBD to My Pet?

Wondering if CBD for pets is a good idea? The short answer is yes. CBD provides similar benefits you gain from taking it to your pets. However, the challenge is there’s limited research on the use of CBD for dogs, possible side effects, and CBD dosage for dogs and pets.

That said, there are good pet products on the market from reliable brands. Use pet-specific products; don’t give your CBD to your furry friend. Common products you may see are CBD dog treats and CBD oil for dogs.

While it’s generally safe to give CBD to your pet, some side effects are also possible. For example, your dog may have diarrhea, especially if the CBD is in high doses. Also, your dog may be clumsy until his body metabolizes the CBD.

Lastly, some CBD for cats, dogs, and pets contains additional ingredients. If your pet has allergies, read the product label carefully for any substance they may be allergic to before serving.

How to Find High-Quality CBD Products

If you decide to count the number of CBD brands out there, you’ll get to over a hundred and still counting. It can be a tad overwhelming when choosing CBD products. How do you differentiate a quality CBD from an inferior one?

Below is a guide that will help you find high-quality CBD products:

Third-party Lab Testing: Every CBD you buy should be third-party tested by an independent laboratory. These tests confirm a product’s purity and potency. Also, it shows you the concentration of cannabinoids like CBD and THC in the product.

A certificate of analysis from a third-party lab is your way of confirming the product is safe and contains what’s advertised. If a company doesn’t provide the lab result on its website, you can request it. Any brand that doesn’t display these test reports is one you must avoid.

Read the Label: The product’s label should have all the necessary information a consumer needs. For instance, you should see things like the type of CBD and the concentration of CBD per bottle.

Check for Additional Ingredients: A CBD product can have other ingredients apart from hemp extracts. As with any supplement, you want to know what’s in the product you’re consuming. If you have allergies, scan for any allergens before you make a purchase.

Extraction Process: The safest and most efficient extraction technique is CO2 extraction. This industry-leading method delivers high-quality CBD that is free of harmful contaminants. Extraction methods using propane, butane, pentane, or hexane may leave toxic solvents in the end product. CO2 extraction doesn’t make use of any solvents.

Customer Reviews: An important factor to consider before buying any CBD product is customer reviews. These reviews and feedback give you an insight into other people’s experiences with the product. You want to have a positive experience with any brand you choose.

Where to Buy CBD

People can easily lay their hands on CBD, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill and its increasing growth. You can buy CBD directly from the brand’s website or online retailers.

Another option is to purchase from physical stores such as local dispensaries, cannabis stores, and health shops. You can enter local CBD stores near me on your browser and see the results that show up.

Whether you buy from an online or offline store doesn’t matter as long as you choose a reliable brand. Most people who buy CBD online do so because it’s convenient. Also, they have access to different products and can conduct research before buying.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, CBD has a lot of potential benefits to offer to anyone who wants to improve their health and wellness. Researchers have studied this compound for its possible role in relieving symptoms of common ailments, such as pain and anxiety. Also, it may benefit those with neurological disorders, heart conditions, sleep problems, and many more.

Keep in mind that the only FDA-approved CBD medication is Epidiolex, for treating two rare forms of anxiety. There’s still much to learn about the effects of CBD on the body. So, research is ongoing on CBD for different health conditions.

Generally, CBD is safe and well-tolerated. However, some users notice mild side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness, and changes in appetite. CBD can also interact with the medications you’re taking. Therefore, always speak with your doctor before adding it to your wellness regimen.



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